Sunday, May 11, 2008

Baboo Paneer

Before moving to Portland, I thought the only people still driving 1987 Chevy Caprice wagons were the Hassidic Jews of LA.

This ride is enormously popular with them, mostly because being the Mormons of Jews, they all have 14 kids.

Not that following 613 commandments AND parenting 14 kids leaves much time for caprices. But it does mean you need some mammoth-mobile for hauling all the little Moishes and Sarahs about town.
Trust me, if you are taken out by a driver on Fairfax Boulevard, it will be someone with a covered head and a faux-wood paneled wagon.

My low-Hassid life in Portland meant a dearth of Chevy Caprice wagon sightings. Until Justin and Holly moved in up the block. With their Baboo.

The Baboo was once Justin's mother's car. Then it was Justin's crazy young dude ride. He's a drummer, and it was the band car. He and Holly, who met in college, moved across country, and it was their u-and-me-forever-haul. It lived up and down the west coast. By the time we met it, it was barely moving.

I'm not the sort of neighbor who complains that the car you've got parked in front of my house is an eyesore. But the neighbors in front of whose house the Baboo was often parked were.

And then there were those mean people with their officious power-mad ways. The ones who ticket you just because your ride isn't *street legal.* As though the Baboo didn't rise above the law, answering to a higher code. You know, like Batman.

If Batman has faux wood paneling and maybe burned a little oil tooling around town.

There comes a time at which youth is truly over. Was it graduating from med school? Finishing the residency? Being a full-fledged doctor? Buying the house? Having the kid? Having kid number two on the way?

No. It was the tragic realization that the Baboo was a moldy, rusty, smog-check-failing relic of a once glorious past. So this weekend, friends and family gathered to send her out with style.

In the great Irish tradition (Think May the road debase itself with you), I recited a farewell limerick:

There was a sweet ride named Baboo
A hoopty beloved and true
Twas Justin's long cherish├Ęd
Until Holly said:

Get rid of that car or we're through

Which, btw, is pretty much why he is finally parting with the wonder wagon - Holly is pretty much in "justifiable homicide" range if that car isn't gone this week.

But knowing we all want a little something to remember the dearly departed by, my squeeze the Cheez and I made up some souvenirs of what we imagined to be the Baboo's farewell tour.

Vive le Baboo

Look on the Baboo and tremble, ye Mongol hordes

Stonehenge, where the demons dwell,
Where the banshees drive, and they do drive well

What creature rolls on four wheels in the morning . . .

Can we get an extra order of naan with the Baboo Paneer?

That's one way to keep the keg cold

One small station wagon for man, one giant Baboo for mankind

In point of fact, the Baboo's final tour was a little shorter than this. It involved being rolled up into a neighbor's driveway, where it probably leaked a myriad of motor fluids, for the duration of the party.

But the Baboo wasn't the only one of us who is past our prime. We're all older than we used to be. So old, not a single party goer was so drunk s/he had to crash in the Baboo. Zey gezunt, caprices of youth!

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